Turkish operation in Syria undercuts US gains in ISIS fight

Turkey's military incursion against Kurdish groups in Afrin, Syria, has helped bring US-backed ground offensives targ...

Posted: Mar 1, 2018 9:45 AM
Updated: Mar 1, 2018 9:45 AM

Turkey's military incursion against Kurdish groups in Afrin, Syria, has helped bring US-backed ground offensives targeting ISIS to a near halt, multiple US officials tell CNN, putting the military campaign against the terror group at risk, an effort seen as one of the Trump administration's principle successes.

An official from the US-led coalition fighting ISIS told CNN that a small number of Kurdish members of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces had left the campaign against ISIS in Syria's Middle Euphrates River Valley, opting to join other Kurdish forces in Afrin as they battle Turkish troops and their local Syrian allies.

Although the contingent of the US-backed force fighting ISIS in that area is 80% Arab and 20% Kurdish, much of its leadership is ethnically Kurd.

The coalition official told CNN that those that have left for Afrin included some of the force's Kurdish commanders, limiting America's local allies' ability to conduct offensive operations against ISIS' few remaining territorial strongholds.

He said that the Kurdish fighters did not take any of the coalition provided weapons and equipment that had been given to them to help fight ISIS.

The Trump administration's decision to provide such weapons and equipment to Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces was heavily criticized by Turkey, who sees such Kurdish groups as linked to the PKK, a separatist group that has waged a decade's long insurgency against the Turkish government.

Turkey launched an operation targeting Kurdish groups in Afrin in January, shortly after the US coalition announced plans to work with elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces to help stabilize areas of Syria that had been captured from ISIS.

While US officials noted that the US-led coalition continues to target ISIS with airstrikes, the halting of most ground offensive operations against ISIS risks undermining the recent gains against ISIS in the area, jeopardizing one of the Trump administration's biggest successes.

"We are aware of the departure of some Syrian Democratic Forces from the Middle Euphrates River Valley and continue to point out the potential costs of any distraction from the defeat-ISIS fight," Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told CNN.

"The Syrian Democratic Forces accepted coalition support with the guarantee they would not use it against Turkey or any other Coalition ally. The Syrian Democratic Forces leadership recently reaffirmed this commitment," Pahon added.

State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert encouraged Turkey to read the UN Security Council cease fire resolution on Syria, saying the document is clear in naming which groups are exempt.

Turkish government officials have said they will continue to go after Kurdish fighters in Afrin despite the resolution.

The commander of US Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the region, Gen. Joseph Votel, told Congress Tuesday that the Syrian Democratic Forces were "the most effective force on the ground in Syria against ISIS."

And while Votel acknowledged Turkey's "significant concerns along their border with longstanding PKK interests," he expressed concerns that the Turkish military's "activity in Afrin is detracting from our efforts against ISIS."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 764448

Reported Deaths: 13965
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1049701803
Lake567981029
Allen42685698
St. Joseph37253568
Hamilton37131426
Elkhart29699470
Tippecanoe23347230
Vanderburgh23106404
Porter19538327
Johnson18755391
Hendricks18012321
Madison13463345
Clark13450198
Vigo12789255
LaPorte12533224
Monroe12494178
Delaware11100198
Howard10612237
Kosciusko9736123
Hancock8707149
Bartholomew8235157
Warrick8031157
Floyd7975181
Grant7337181
Wayne7222201
Boone7145105
Morgan6886142
Marshall6323116
Dubois6267118
Cass6083111
Dearborn598578
Noble595790
Henry5939111
Jackson514677
Shelby509097
Lawrence4901127
Gibson460696
Montgomery454492
Clinton453555
DeKalb451585
Harrison450576
Whitley414745
Huntington411781
Steuben409560
Miami404073
Jasper399455
Knox387091
Putnam383762
Wabash367383
Adams351656
Ripley350471
Jefferson340486
White338954
Daviess3084100
Wells302281
Greene292285
Decatur291493
Fayette285864
Posey280435
Scott278058
LaGrange276972
Clay273048
Washington252437
Randolph247083
Jennings238149
Spencer237531
Fountain233750
Starke229859
Owen221059
Sullivan219043
Fulton207645
Jay202832
Carroll196522
Orange190556
Perry189139
Vermillion179644
Rush177027
Franklin171635
Tipton171547
Parke153616
Pike141234
Blackford137832
Pulaski122948
Newton122436
Benton109215
Brown105743
Crawford105116
Martin92515
Warren87615
Switzerland8308
Union73510
Ohio58211
Unassigned0428

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1122104

Reported Deaths: 20467
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1302141493
Cuyahoga1171052259
Hamilton823021259
Montgomery534221059
Summit488431014
Lucas43716832
Butler39925614
Stark33777937
Lorain25975509
Warren24887312
Mahoning22677612
Lake21448396
Clermont20360260
Delaware19105138
Licking16838227
Trumbull16770491
Fairfield16750207
Medina15818276
Greene15497254
Clark14336308
Portage13410218
Wood13332201
Allen12037245
Richland11722213
Miami10993228
Wayne9249227
Columbiana9195236
Muskingum9118137
Pickaway8735123
Tuscarawas8710254
Marion8697140
Erie8116166
Ashtabula7270179
Hancock7043134
Ross7011165
Geauga6946153
Scioto6665108
Belmont6207179
Lawrence5912104
Union590449
Jefferson5722162
Huron5624122
Sandusky5473130
Darke5436130
Seneca5376128
Washington5360111
Athens526360
Auglaize506987
Mercer490585
Shelby480997
Knox4609112
Madison447266
Ashland442698
Defiance438499
Fulton435675
Putnam4351104
Crawford4108111
Brown409462
Preble3944107
Logan391679
Clinton388666
Ottawa375381
Highland364968
Williams356178
Champaign348060
Guernsey329754
Jackson321154
Perry298350
Morrow294543
Fayette288150
Hardin279065
Henry276967
Coshocton272561
Holmes2725102
Van Wert251765
Adams249158
Gallia248950
Pike244537
Wyandot235257
Hocking222263
Carroll200649
Paulding179342
Meigs151040
Noble137739
Monroe137445
Harrison115138
Morgan111624
Vinton87217
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 79°
Angola
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 79°
Huntington
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 69°
Decatur
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 79°
Van Wert
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
The summer heat sticks around as we start the work week. Make sure to stay hydrated. Stay inside in the air conditioning or in the shade as much as possible to stay cool.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events